by Holladay Allen
Native Foods Cafe
So National Lasagna Day is smack dab in the middle of summer, today to be precise. Which seems strange since lasagna seems like such a wintery, cold-weather food... right? Well I found a recipe years ago for a Summer Lasagna that is absolutely delicious... and not too heavy. I found it in the Voluptuous Vegan cookbook, which I talk about somewhat often here. So let’s get our lasagna on.
First, you'll need to prepare 1 recipe Ratatouille:
12 lasagna noodles
1 pound firm tofu -- pressed
2 garlic cloves -- peeled
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
½ cup imported black or kalamata olives, chopped
1 TBSP capers -- drained if in brine, rinsed if salted
½ cup walnut halves
Place the lasagna noodles in a shallow baking dish large enough to hold them without breaking. Cover them with hot water and let them sit 20 to 25 minutes, or until the noodles are softened. Drain in a colander.
In a food processor, combine the tofu, garlic, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice. Stir in the olives and capers. I also added in some nutritional yeast, about a ½ cup. I also made a half recipe extra... because I really like this ricotta!
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Meanwhile, place the walnuts on a baking sheet and lightly toast about 10 minutes--don't let them burn. Remove from the oven and place in a strainer. Rub the walnuts against the strainer (over the sink) to loosen the skins. Remove the walnuts from the strainer and hand-chop into small pieces.
Arrange a layer of lasagna noodles in the bottom of a glass baking dish, either a 7x9 or a 9x13. Cut to fit if necessary. Spread one third of the ratatouille mixture over the noodles, then use a spatula to spread half of the tofu cheese evenly over the vegetables.
Top with another layer of noodles, then another third of vegetables. Place a third layer of noodles over the vegetables, and finish with the remainder of the vegetables. Top with the rest of the tofu cheese, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the top.
Bake the lasagna for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetable juices bubble around the sides of the dish. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before cutting.